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Hospitals Are Still Falling Behind on WAPA Bills

Nov. 20, 2008 – Even though the price of oil fell below $50 a barrel Thursday, the lowest it has been since January 2007, and the Water and Power Authority has been able to drastically lower the Levelized Energy Adjustment Clause (LEAC), all news was not good at the regular WAPA monthly board meeting at its Sunny Isles office.
Hugo Hodge, WAPA executive director, said that Schneider Regional Medical Center and Gov. Juan F. Luis Hospital are still falling behind on their electric and water bills.
He added that the V. I. Cardiac Care Center at Juan Luis Hospital is set to open but the hospital's bill must be current to move forward.
"There is a standing board directive to not add power to government agencies when the bill isn't current," said Nellon Bowry, CFO at WAPA.
The hospitals, according to the reports, have paid off $17 million but Juan F. Luis still owes $1.5 million with $1.2 million past due for electric and has $135,000 due for water with $103,000 past due. Schneider Regional has $1 million due with $688,000 of that past due on electric and $262,000 due for water with $172,000 past due.
"The governor has pledged support with what needs to be done," Hodge said. "We are meeting with Gregory Calliste, CEO at Juan Luis, tomorrow to work out a plan."
Board member attorney Gerald Groner suggested looking into setting up an automatic withdrawal payment plan from the hospitals account to pay one quarter each week of its bill.
"So there's no choice but to pay — getting us off the hot seat making sure we get paid," Groner said.
Hodge also gave update the board on a request for proposals (RFP) the authority issued for alternative energy.
The authority is in the process of negotiating with two waste-to-energy facilities, he said.
"We hope to come to an agreement with one of them by the end of December," Hodge said. "Waste-to-energy serves more than one purpose; it will reduce and close the landfills and produce power."
In other action, the board:
— Approved a purchase order to Siemans Water Technology for $258,000 to purchase an automatic bed deionizer and $10,000 to cover the cost of shipping the unit to St. Croix. The funds were already earmarked for the unit.
The unit will be used to increase the quantity and improve the quality of demineralized water needed to supply boilers and gas turbines.
— Authorized Hodge to enter into a contract with AEGIS to provide the excess liability insurance to the authority from Dec. 7, 2008, to Dec. 7, 2009, at a cost of $804,000.
— Approved the selection of GEC, LLC to complete installation of the 002 Outfall and Separator No. 4 at the Richmond plant for $335,000. According to a document to support the request, installation of the system will reduce runoff water from the plant after torrential rains. It also eliminates hydrocarbons and the reduces suspended solids in the cooling pond. The project has been languishing since it was awarded to Best Construction Inc. Several attempts have been made to have the contractor complete the job. The project was plagued with interruptions, so the contract with Best was terminated.
"We went the extra mile to look out for locals," Hodge said. "We can't compromise."
— Approved authorization of a draw down on an existing line of credit for $6 million to pay for its fuel hedging program with $6 million in payments in November and December.
Under the fuel hedging program, "if the price of oil is above the cap set we get paid; if it falls below, we pay," said Bowry. He added the caps are set by the market. Board member Robert Mathes asked if WAPA has paid out more than it has benefited.
"Yes we have paid out more," Bowery said.
Bowery told the board WAPA is close to paying down the Hovensa bill that was $48 million. He said the remaining balance is $1 million plus interest.
Hodge told board member Cheryl Boynes Jackson she will receive a plaque from WAPA showing appreciation for the help her company, Boyson Inc., a shipping and ferry company, provided after Omar.
"She was able to facilitate getting crews and heavy equipment to St. Croix pulling resources together to assist after hours and late at night," said Cassandra Dunn, director of customer service and corporate communications.

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Nov. 20, 2008 – Even though the price of oil fell below $50 a barrel Thursday, the lowest it has been since January 2007, and the Water and Power Authority has been able to drastically lower the Levelized Energy Adjustment Clause (LEAC), all news was not good at the regular WAPA monthly board meeting at its Sunny Isles office.
Hugo Hodge, WAPA executive director, said that Schneider Regional Medical Center and Gov. Juan F. Luis Hospital are still falling behind on their electric and water bills.
He added that the V. I. Cardiac Care Center at Juan Luis Hospital is set to open but the hospital's bill must be current to move forward.
"There is a standing board directive to not add power to government agencies when the bill isn't current," said Nellon Bowry, CFO at WAPA.
The hospitals, according to the reports, have paid off $17 million but Juan F. Luis still owes $1.5 million with $1.2 million past due for electric and has $135,000 due for water with $103,000 past due. Schneider Regional has $1 million due with $688,000 of that past due on electric and $262,000 due for water with $172,000 past due.
"The governor has pledged support with what needs to be done," Hodge said. "We are meeting with Gregory Calliste, CEO at Juan Luis, tomorrow to work out a plan."
Board member attorney Gerald Groner suggested looking into setting up an automatic withdrawal payment plan from the hospitals account to pay one quarter each week of its bill.
"So there's no choice but to pay -- getting us off the hot seat making sure we get paid," Groner said.
Hodge also gave update the board on a request for proposals (RFP) the authority issued for alternative energy.
The authority is in the process of negotiating with two waste-to-energy facilities, he said.
"We hope to come to an agreement with one of them by the end of December," Hodge said. "Waste-to-energy serves more than one purpose; it will reduce and close the landfills and produce power."
In other action, the board:
-- Approved a purchase order to Siemans Water Technology for $258,000 to purchase an automatic bed deionizer and $10,000 to cover the cost of shipping the unit to St. Croix. The funds were already earmarked for the unit.
The unit will be used to increase the quantity and improve the quality of demineralized water needed to supply boilers and gas turbines.
-- Authorized Hodge to enter into a contract with AEGIS to provide the excess liability insurance to the authority from Dec. 7, 2008, to Dec. 7, 2009, at a cost of $804,000.
-- Approved the selection of GEC, LLC to complete installation of the 002 Outfall and Separator No. 4 at the Richmond plant for $335,000. According to a document to support the request, installation of the system will reduce runoff water from the plant after torrential rains. It also eliminates hydrocarbons and the reduces suspended solids in the cooling pond. The project has been languishing since it was awarded to Best Construction Inc. Several attempts have been made to have the contractor complete the job. The project was plagued with interruptions, so the contract with Best was terminated.
"We went the extra mile to look out for locals," Hodge said. "We can't compromise."
-- Approved authorization of a draw down on an existing line of credit for $6 million to pay for its fuel hedging program with $6 million in payments in November and December.
Under the fuel hedging program, "if the price of oil is above the cap set we get paid; if it falls below, we pay," said Bowry. He added the caps are set by the market. Board member Robert Mathes asked if WAPA has paid out more than it has benefited.
"Yes we have paid out more," Bowery said.
Bowery told the board WAPA is close to paying down the Hovensa bill that was $48 million. He said the remaining balance is $1 million plus interest.
Hodge told board member Cheryl Boynes Jackson she will receive a plaque from WAPA showing appreciation for the help her company, Boyson Inc., a shipping and ferry company, provided after Omar.
"She was able to facilitate getting crews and heavy equipment to St. Croix pulling resources together to assist after hours and late at night," said Cassandra Dunn, director of customer service and corporate communications.

Back Talk


Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.